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    notes on Fundamentalism in Israel

    0 תגובות   יום שבת, 27/12/14, 21:13

     

     

    הרצאה שכתבתי ונשאתי בסמינר בינ"ל בגרמניה (2002) בנושא:

    "Political Strategies: Fighting Fundamentalism" 

    (כמנהלת סיעת "שינוי" בכנסת)

     

    Notes on Fundamentalism in Israel

     

    Fundamentalism is a major issue in Israel, an issue that affects many aspects of our lives.

    The "Shinui" (Change in Hebrew) party, to which I belong, fights against this phenomenon and against the rules of Rabbis and Cadis who are its political and spiritual instigators.

     

    Fundamentalism is a "Messianic" concept and as such it emerges at times which are difficult for the fanatically religious in Judaism and in Islam which in turn promotes extremism.

     

    1. Security is a field which is greatly influenced by Fundamentalism. Decisions on both sides, Jews and Arabs, are driven by a blind belief of what is "right" according to their own religion.

    In Islam there is a concept of "Jihad" which encourages young people to kill themselves whilst murdering as many Israeli civilians as possible - including women and children.

    Among the Jewish extremists there is a belief that all of the Holly Land rightfully belongs to the Jewish people (needless to say they do not kill themselves among Palestinians to achieve their goal) and that is why it is almost impossible for the peace process to develop.

    However, whilst among the Palestinians Fundamentalism is considered mainstream - among the Israeli Jews Fundamentalism it is only marginal and resented and rejected by many of them.

     

    2. Fundamentalism has also an impact on the Israeli economy. For example, the voting in the "Knesset" (Israeli parliament) on the national budget bill - is according to sectorial  demands made  by the various political factions, which make up the Knesset.

    This system ensures that the ultra-orthodox parties invariably win because if these parties will not get their funding demands satisfied - they will oppose the budget.

    This means that a larger share of the available funding goes to support the Fundamentalists institutions, instead of to important purposes, like education, science, health etc.

    Many of the ultra-orthodox Jews do not work and do not serve in the military and as such they are a burden on the society, especially to the Israel's middle class - which does pay its taxes and serves army in his country.

     

    3. Fundamentalism is basically undemocratic. Its existence within the Israeli society violates important civil rights such as civil marriages and civil divorces (as opposed to religious ceremonies), violates the right to an inter-religious marriages, the right to burials in a non-religious form and the right to work and trade freely whenever people choose to do so, even on Saturdays.

     

    4. The fundamentalists ultra-Orthodox Jews challenge the legitimacy of our courts of law, especially of the Supreme Court.

    A recent poll in Israel has shown that 91% of fundamentalists Orthodox Jews believe that the "Halacha" (Jewish religious Laws) takes precedence.

    The same poll showed that 62% of the Israeli Arabs also challenge the legitimacy of Israel's courts of law, because they do not trust that the Israeli court or police will do them justice, but I am not sure whether they would prefer the "Sharia" laws in Israel?!

     

    This process of fanaticism became possible due to the rise to political power of the ultra-Orthodox parties in our multi-system of democracy, rise which endangers the Israeli democracy.

     

    Fundamentalism is the major phenomenon that "Shinui" party, as a Democratic Liberal Zionist and Secular party, is fighting against.

     

    Rachel Cohen


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